So, another lockdown has been announced in England starting from next week. Of course, as it the usual way with this government, it’s coming too late and will disrupt more lives than were necessary. If they’d listened to the science in September we could have done it for two weeks. If they’d listened Labour in early October we could have done it for two weeks. But it’s too late now and we’ll be in it for at least a month. Probably longer. I’m starting to think my boss might furlough me. As he told me last time, my colleague has already been furloughed so it my turn. But we’ll see what happens.
You know you’ve made a cultural impact if you inspire an episode of Doctor Who, right? Season 4 is one of my favourite seasons because I think Donna is the best companion in modern Who. It also has some fun episodes. Most importantly for this post is The Unicorn and the Wasp. An episode in which Agatha Christie’s mysterious disappearance is connected with an alien murder mystery involving a giant wasp. Death in the Clouds is referenced towards the end of the episode as evidence that the encounter stayed with her subconsciously. I do wonder how many Who fans picked up the book following the episode. Maybe hoping for something fantastical and extraterrestrial? The giant wasp on the cover of my copy might certainly suggest something rather more sinister to anyone who hasn’t already read it.
Agatha Christie and trains go together like Hercule Poirot and a well-groomed moustache. She bloody loved them. More importantly, she bloody loved to see them feature in her murder mysteries. Nowadays, train travel doesn’t have the same romantic appeal as it may once have done. Although, it’s been about 8 months since I was last on a train so there might actually be some romanticism there right now. My morning commute was nothing very interesting but, now that it’s been taken away from me, I do miss it a bit. So, I thought I’d indulge in some train travel during my Christie month. This has never been one of my favourite Christie stories so I’m never that keen to revisit it. It was definitely time for a reread.
Well, that week flew by didn’t it. I had a relaxing week off but I, obviously, didn’t get as much done as I intended. There are certain things that I was planning on doing that I haven’t even started yet. Either I’ll have a super busy day today or, more likely, I’ll just collapse under the pressure of trying to get everything done. At the very least, I need to try and read more. Something I definitely could have done last week but I played too much Animal Crossing instead. There are just so many pumpkins to make stuff out of. It’s so exciting. So, what else did I actually achieve this week?
Earlier this week the Irish Times published a review of writer Dolly Alderton’s debut novel Ghost. The review was negative and its tone caused some major controversy on social media. There were plenty of people who believed the review shouldn’t have been published and was overly harsh. Something that was deemed even worse considering the novel was her first fictional release. I wasn’t planning on discussing it all because I haven’t read the book in question. In fact, I’ve not ready anything written by Alderton so I wasn’t exactly emotionally invested in the saga. This week, something happened to change my mind. Something that wasn’t linked to this story in anyway but certainly got me thinking about it.
In my review of Hallowe’en Party, I suggested that people first went into the book expecting it to be a spooky and supernatural read. There are a couple of weird moments but it’s not exactly a going to cater for your Halloween mood. So, some bright spark of a publisher decided to create this collection. It brings together her previous published stories into one scary anthology. The draw being that one of the stories was unpublished but only in America. Just imagine you can see my eyes rolling as I type that. As I’m going through an Agatha Christie moment, I decided to go through this collection. I’ve never been a huge fan of her short stories but I was ready to be converted.
October is over halfway through and I’ve just finished my third Agatha Christie book of the month. I was hoping to be a bit further ahead at this point but the last couple of weeks haven’t been good for reading. I’m on holiday now and I’m planning on getting as much done as possible. Even if I don’t get any other Christie books read before Halloween (even though I definitely will have to read And Then There Were None for my book club), I have achieved the one thing I wanted. I’ve reread Death on the Nile before Kenny B brings his film out. You can see why it was the second in this latest series of adaptations. It’s one of the first murder mysteries that most people think of when they think of the Queen of Crime. You can definitely see why. As murders go, this is pretty memorable.
Today was the first day of my week off and I’m so happy. There’s been so much to get through recently that I’m looking forward to not having to worry about anything for a bit. Of course, my colleagues will definitely leave everything for me to do when I get back, so I’m simply putting off the stress for another week. Never mind. All I’m focusing on now is making the most of my week. I say this every time but I’m actually planning on reading as much as possible. I’ve a lot of Agatha Christie that I want to get through this month as well as loads of other things on my TBR.
I’ve decided that I’m on a bit of a mission to read as many Agatha Christie books in the next months as possible. My virtual book club chose And Then There Were None as its October picky. I’ll be honest, I didn’t pick it but mainly because it’s one of my favourite books. Certainly one of my favourite Christies. I’ll reread it but I know that I’ll leave it to the last minute. Although, that does give me time to cram in as many of her cosy crime novels as possible. This is my second after last week’s Evil Under The Sun. We’re not even halfway through yet and I’ve got a week off coming up. Hopefully, I’ll get a few more in before Halloween. Oh, speaking of Halloween…
I sometimes think that a memorable first line is a bit of a curse. I know that might sound crazy. After all, authors go through a lot to try and find the perfect opening to draw people in. Surely it must be on the major keys to success? But think about it. What if you have a really great opening but the rest of the novel can’t live up? Every time I see rundowns of books with the best first lines, I see plenty of books that I don’t really care about. Pride and Prejudice? The opening is iconic, certainly, but I find the rest of it rather bland. 1984? The opening promises so much that the repetitive and long novel can’t fully deliver. So, a great opening line doesn’t always indicate a 5 star read. But what about my favourite reads? Do they all have attention grabbing first lines? Do they pass the first line test? Let’s find out.